I’ve been thinking a lot about HBO’s Girls lately and whether or not I like it, and, regardless of my response to that question, why. I don’t care that it might be the product of nepotism, or that it’s predominantly comprised of Caucasian actresses. (Although it does seem strange that these people live in New York Fucking City and they never come in contact with anyone other than white people.)
I don’t care about the characters in the show; I don’t care if the experiences that the show portrays are authentic or relevant. The characters these women play live lives I’m unfamiliar with. I don’t care that they use bad words or talk about masturbating, or have disturbingly filthy pillow talk with the guy they happen to be fucking. None of those things make a bit of difference to me, and none of them dispel any preconceived notions I have of the fairer sex. Is something made more humorous by the use of a well-placed bad word? Cool. The type of genitals the actor who delivers said line has makes no difference.
But really, I think the thing that has been irking me about the show is its inability to create any real depth in relationships that they want us to believe are just that. Maybe there are people in the world who live their lives in the way these women do, where every relationship is shallow, lacking in anything more substantial than shared rent or college attended. But I don’t think it’s the norm.
Let’s take this past week’s episode, where worldly girl’s virgin cousin smokes crack accidentally. Instead of genuine concern for her cousin/friend, worldly girl gets a random stranger to watch over her cousin, because she couldn’t be bothered right then. I don’t fucking understand that.
And I think that’s the rub for me. As goofy as accidentally smoking crack could be, Girls wants us all to take it seriously, not as a gag or spoof on the lives of twentysomething women. The awkward interactions and the personal realizations that are meant to be so revealing really aren’t more than awkward, and almost never connect.
Granted, I’m an early thirtysomething male who has never lived in New York, so it might just be that I don’t understand. But I’d like to think that I understand friendships and relationships, and because of that I can spot the fact that Girls isn’t an accurate portrayal of real ones.